$100m fund to help start-ups survive 'valley of death' gap

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Vertex chief executive Chua Kee Lock said: “We’re looking for start-ups with disruptive and innovative businesses that can become Singapore’s next billion-dollar companies.”

SINGAPORE- Singapore venture capital firm Vertex Venture Management has launched a new $100 million fund to help local start-ups expand and survive the "valley of death" finance gap.

The investment, which was injected by Vertex owner Temasek Holdings last week, will primarily go to firms in the infocomm technology and healthcare sectors.

Each investment is likely to range between US$1 million (S$1.27 million) and US$10 million.

Vertex chief executive Chua Kee Lock said yesterday: "We're looking for start-ups with disruptive and innovative businesses that can become Singapore's next billion-dollar companies."

The firm's aim is not just to provide funding but also "non-financial advice like mentoring founders, finding talent, making business connections and regional and global marketing", Mr Chua told The Straits Times.

Its challenge is not finding suitable start-ups but linking with other funds that can help with follow-up financing, he added.

Vertex's new funding addresses the "valley of death" - the stage after seed funding and incubation where start-ups are in the early growth stage but fall of the cliff and die due to lack of financing.

Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, said: "With more capital injected, it would help enhance the entrepreneurial landscape."

Entrepreneurs and start-up founders told The Straits Times they welcomed the new funding from Vertex.

Mr Amit Anand, managing partner of local venture capital firm Jungle Partners, said: "Capital formation in South-East Asia is far behind market requirements. Great to see Vertex take a lead here and hopefully more will follow suit."

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